Physical illness has always been connected with the idea that the spirit has been attacked. This  print from a Japanese Woodcut shows an image (detail) of a demon representing the disease Smallpox. The hero Chinsei Hachiro Tametomo had been exiled to the island of Oshima. When the Smallpox demon attacked the island the hero shrunk the demon to the size of a pea – and floated him out to sea!

Demon, smallpox, Japan

L0035243 Detail of demon representing smallpox
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
Detail of demon representing smallpox. Chinsei Hachiro Tametomo, a celebrated historical figure of the 12th century, whose enemies exiled him to the island of Oshima off the cost of Japan. There according to legend, he repelled the demon of smallpox who was preparing to invade the island. In his response to his ferocious threats, the deman shown in the left of the woodcut is reputed to have been diminished to the size of a pea and floated out to sea.
Coloured Woodcut
c. 1847 – 1852 Published: –
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

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